Missed opportunities for democratic engagement: the adoption of community indicators in local government

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Journal Article
The Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration, 2015, 37 (1), pp. 33 - 43
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Community indicators, as a framework for the measurement of community wellbeing and progress established in collaboration with the community itself, have more than three decades of history in the United States. Although community indicator projects developed in Australia from the 1990s onwards, particularly by local governments, they have primarily been used as a reporting tool rather than as an instrument for democratic engagement and evidence-based policy development. In this article, an analysis is provided of the range of approaches to community indicators in Australia and the United States. The argument is made for the use of community indicators to enhance the democratic capacity of local government. The aim is to stimulate discussion about the potential benefits of community indicator projects for local government in Australia and increase understanding of the possible extent of their application.
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